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What do you love about your favorite sport?

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MadArchitect

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What do you love about your favorite sport?

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For my part, I'm going to exclude spectator sports, so called, as I almost always enjoy playing a sport more than watching it. And while there are a number of different sports I enjoy playing, if I had to pick just one, I'd choose tennis.Part of the reason I like tennis is that the team dynamics are a little simplified. I've played a great many team sports, but the test of tennis -- at least, singles tennis -- is all on the individual. There's an emphasis on personal responsibility that is more easily lost in team sports. There's a certain satisfaction even in losing a point when you know that you can't blame someone else for your shortcomings; you either botched the point or were bested.Then there are the dynamics of the game itself, the compactness of the give and take. You hit the ball into the opponents court, and you have about 5 seconds to think out your next move and put it into action. Most of the time, thinking out the move comes down to deciding what, given the best situation, you would like to do -- where you should place your next shot, what sort of motion to put on the ball, what aspect of the opponent's game to play against. But that decision works, at best, as a kind of framework for what actually happens. Because the moment the ball is hit back, your actual play will be a kind of reaction.Once you've played tennis a while -- and this is probably true of every sport -- how you react is a matter of conditioning. To achieve a given goal, you must move in a particular way. You swing your racquet the way you do because you've swung it hundreds of times before, you've settled into the most optimal groove you can find so far, and the more practiced you are, the easier it is to react from precisely the way you need to. And I get a full, thick satisfaction out of the relatively short cycle of tennis, of that ten second turnover between one swing and the next, that rapidly shrinking space between the execution of one plan -- in as much as it can be called a plan -- and the moment when you'll be prevailed upon to make things happen once again. It's the psychology of the moment that drives everything. With every swing, the tension mounts an increment more, and the best points in tennis are those in which the breakthrough is decisive, palpable, visceral.
marti1900

Re: What do you love about your favorite sport?

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I'm with you on the tennis, Mad. Back in the day, I was a pretty good player, but haven't played in years. The knees can't take it anymore.I love that 'twock' of racket hitting ball right in the sweet spot. Boy, if I was in the zone, the game would be almost surreal.Now my only sport is racing my husband to the chocolate chip cookies.Marti in Mexico
Timothy Schoonover

Re: What do you love about your favorite sport?

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I enjoy both playing and watching soccer. What I like about it is that it is a game of will and endurance. There is very little in the way of equipment. It is just you, a ball and 90 minutes of running. If you've never played a full regulation game of soccer then it's hard to understand how much stamina is required. You don't get time outs or breaks in gameplay. You get to run, fall face-first into the grass, and then run some more. There is a 10 minute break between halves and then you get to do it all over again.In addition to these physical demands, the game requires a high degree of personal skill. When a goal is score, it is usually the result of one player besting several players. There is very little to compare to the exhiliration of cutting between three defenders and driving the ball into the net.What few people understand about soccer is that it is very strategic. Most only see a bunch of players running after a ball, and indeed, whenever individuals such as this ever play soccer, this is inevitably what they do. Soccer requires a situational awareness such as I have never experienced in any other sport. When you've played or spectated long enough, you begin to see the patterns of movement that represent each teams attempt to capitalize on the situation. The transitions between patterns, however, are usually so fluid that the average or novice spectator is unaware that they are even occuring. For example, as a member of the backfield, I was responsible for knowing exactly which, how many, and where each of the opposing teams forwards were positioned while also knowing exactly where and in whose possession the ball was. Each opponent had to be covered, which involved communication with my fellow backfielders, who are often, not in the backfield at all. Every position is interchangeable and every player is responsible for knowing how to play all of the other positions effectively. It is not unheard of for even the goalie to make a run on the opposing team's goal and I have found myself covering the untended goal many times myself. Essentially soccer is about continually shifting your resources around in such a way that you are able to bring them to bear upon your opponent before they are able to adapt, while your opponent is trying to do the same thing to you. Every goal, in this sense, is the result of a score of subtle victories. This is why I am so amazed when people tell me that watching soccer is boring, because to me every second of every play is a seesaw battle for advantage that could at any moment become the decisive factor in determining the outcome of the game. It is for this reason, among others, that I don't really enjoy single player sports. In soccer, besting and being bested by an opponent happens a thousand times over in a single game. Sometimes you are better than your opponent, sometimes you aren't. I like soccer because it requires you to constantly use your mind in abstract and strategic ways while still allowing performance on the individual level to be significant. For me this is just preference.Unfortunately, I am have become lazy and I play video games for that kind of experience now, and just run for the excersize. Edited by: Timothy Schoonover at: 9/22/05 12:39 am
MadArchitect

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Re: What do you love about your favorite sport?

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Another game -- though not one so reputable as soccer -- requiring a great deal of stamina is ultimate frisbee. In terms of dynamics, though, perhaps the biggest difference between ultimate and soccer is that an individual never scores on his own in ultimate -- there are always at least two people involved in a successful offensive play, and part of the thrill of the game is that moment of anticipation between the decision of the thrower and the response of the catcher.But probably the biggest obstacle to ultimate ever getting any respect as a sport is the name --blah!
ADO15

Re: What do you love about your favorite sport?

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Having a disability means I don't get to do an awful lot of sport (OK, being a lazy bastard doesn't help either), but there are two I enjoy, although either might be challenged as to their status.Firstly, cycling. I love the ability to just get away from everything, travel miles under my own steam at my own pace - not as slow as walking, but not as fast as driving. It's amazing what you see - wildlife, scenery, people, buildings, other cyclists even. And there is the meditative aspect of it, spinning a gear in a high cadence, becoming totally absorbed in the mechanical process (stop me if I start sounding like a Futurist). It's the closest thing to flying.I used to manage at least 60 miles every weekend on top of my commuting mileage (normally with an electrician's toolbox strapped to the back), but sometimes I managed 100 miles, and, on two glorious rides, 150 miles in a day.Having children has limited my cycling, as has needing to wear a suit for work, and living 25 miles from the office. Ah well....My other 'sport' is kite flying. Not that macho stuff like kitesurfing or buggying or that. No, I loke nothing more than taking a simple paper fighter kite on a single cotton line, and making it dance all over the sky - dive, turn, loop, climb until it stalls, sweep across the horizon - all just with the tension on the line. Fabulous. Anyone who hasn't tried it should get out there and give it a go (but take a few fighters - they're cheap - because if you make a mistake, a rough landing can destroy a delicate work of art). _________________________________________________________Il Sotto Seme La Neva
Timothy Schoonover

Re: What do you love about your favorite sport?

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You guys make these sports sound like so much fun. That was a great post ADO.
ADO15

Re: What do you love about your favorite sport?

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So, you gonna grab a kite & get on your bike, TS? I'm up for that! _________________________________________________________Il Sotto Seme La Neva
Keith and Company

Re: What do you love about your favorite sport?

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My only connection to sports is as a spectator.I cheer for Jacksonville, because the city really, really loves the team, which was returned in a way i have seldom seen elsewhere. Win, lose, stagger around with an axe in their leg, they're the adopted child of the city. I can't tell the diff between a half back and a full back, but i love the team.And i shout 'Go Army!' Because after 20 in the Navy, i cheer for anyone that beats up midshipmen. Not a nice thing to say, but neither are my midshipmen stories.
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